Chickweed makes chickens happy

Chickweed is one of those weeds that lightly but persistently invades garden beds. Even the carefully placed layer of straw that we laid down around the newly planted seedlings was unable to stop it. Chickweed managed to spring up in each of the communal beds! Fortunately, it tends to be easy to remove and can be torn off without using tools. However, even just a little bit of root left in the ground seems to be sufficient for the plant to regrow; so continuous weeding is necessary to slowly but surely get rid of it.

Chickweed is easy to identify:

  • It has small, rather fresh-looking light green leaves. They are reminiscent of Oregano leaves, but not as dark green and they lack the silvery shine. Look out for fine hairs around the small white flowers and along the stem.
Image credits: Dawn Endico via Flickr. Original photo on https://www.flickr.com/photos/candiedwomanire/93226243

Image credits: Dawn Endico via Flickr. Original photo on https://www.flickr.com/photos/candiedwomanire/93226243

  • If there is space/free soil, it tends to send out shoots radially, as a ground creeper. But you will find the stalks lifting off the ground if there are other plants in the vicinity. 
  • There tends to be a lot of it ;-)

As the name suggests, chickens love chickweed! See for yourself how excited our girls were to receive a bucket full of freshly weeded chickweed... 

So next time you're in the garden, why not see for yourself what a chicken fanclub you will gather from simply picking some chickweed and throwing it to the girls? 

You might even want to keep some for yourself: Chickweed is high in vitamin C and can be eaten raw, e.g. added to salads. Just don't use too much of it - both for the sake of happy chicken and because the plant contains so-called 'saponins' that are toxic when consumed in large quantities.